Russian Crypto Telegram Groups are Gaining Traction Amidst Restrictions

Russian Crypto Groups On Telegram Sees Increased Traction After The Ban

In mid-April, Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor ordered internet providers to restrict access used by the Telegram. The move was taken after the messenger lost a court battle with the security services that demanded it hand over the keys to its clients’ encrypted correspondence.

The Russian government has gone back and forth thinking about lifting the ban, but only on the condition that Telegram shares encryption keys with them. Despite these hurdles, it seems like crypto-related Telegram channels have come out on top.

According to a study covering the top 50 Russian language groups, the readership of all examined groups has jumped by 21%, and 49% for those in the “Cryptocurrency” category.

Of course, the ban, the noise around it, and the difficulties Telegram are facing have had an adverse effect on some of its indicators. The study conducted by the non-profit organization Rspectr found that the posts in the examined most popular Russian channels have been losing 11.2% of their views on average each month, April through August, or 45% for the whole period. The growth of new subscriptions registered by the messenger has also decreased this summer – it’s been only 0.01% in the last month.

Nevertheless, the readers of the leading channels have actually increased in number, the researchers point out. The Russian audience is mostly interested in topics in the categories of “Cryptocurrency” and “Business/Economy”, which includes startups. The number of their readers has jumped by 49% (8.4% monthly) and 35% (6.2% per month) respectively.

The study also covers the groups in the “Telegram” category, including the Russian language channel of Pavel Durov, founder of the messaging app, two channels for sharing proxy servers used to circumvent the blockade, as well as the “Teleblog” channel devoted to news about Telegram. The number of subscribers to these groups has grown by 186% or 23.4% per month. The average reach of the posts in these groups increased by 28%, with Durov’s comments accounting for the largest share of the increase.

The paper also points that there is a constant drop in the frequency of posting in the studied channels, presumably linked to diminishing user activity during the holiday season, which is likely to have caused the drop in the number of views as well. A positive course has been identified in August when the average number of views of the posts in the crypto category jumped by approximately 13%.

Notably, the increase in activity on Telegram channels can be attributed to Streisand Effect. The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased.

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